Over a dozen states are pushing back on a White House commission’s request to obtain data on registered voters.
Earlier this week, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — created to address the president’s persistent claims of voting fraud in the 2016 election — requested that every state provide the federal government with the names, birthdates and Social Security information for registered voters going back a decade.
The request was made by Kris Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state and vice chairman of the commission. Vice President Pence chairs the commission, which was established in May via executive order.
“The idea is to have the best data possible,” Kobach told the Kansas City Star in an interview. “The purpose of the commission is to quantify different forms of voter fraud and registration fraud and offer solutions. And so you have to have this data in order to do any meaningful research.”
The ACLU issued a statement Friday calling the data request a “nationwide assault” on the rights of voters and attacking Kobach’s record.
“King of Voter Suppression Kris Kobach and the Trump administration are launching a nationwide assault on voting rights. That Kobach — who has been successfully sued many times for voter suppression — is now asking for details on every single voter in the U.S. is deeply alarming and raises significant privacy concerns,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “States are right to balk at turning over massive reams of personal information in what clearly is a campaign to suppress the vote.”
President Trump started planting the seeds of suspicion he would later use to validate this initiative before the 2016 election, repeatedly saying on the campaign trail that the election would be “rigged.”
In the aftermath of the election, where Trump won the Electoral College but not the popular vote, he claimed that millions had voted illegally for his rival Hillary Clinton, mentioning it in meetings with legislators of both parties. Despite White House officials repeatedly claiming they have evidence of voter fraud, no information has been offered and few cases have been reported. Multiple studies have found little evidence of fraud, with a large report in 2014 finding 31 instances of credible fraud out of one billion votes cast.
Critics of Kobach — who has announced his intention to run for governor in Kansas in 2018 — claim that he is attempting to…